cover image Echo


Pam Muñoz Ryan, read by multiple narrators, music by Corky Siege. Scholastic Audio, unabridged, 9 CDs, 10.5 hrs., $39.99 ISBN 978-0-545-78836-6

It’s hard to imagine a better way to experience this story than in the audiobook format. Music infuses the entire plot line; the characters are cellists, pianists, conductors, and singers. They hear orchestras and have chamber concerts in their homes. And a simple harmonica links the three main narratives. In pre-WWII Germany, young Friedrich, a budding conductor, finds comfort in playing a harmonica as he plots to rescue his father from a concentration camp. Mike and his little brother, Frankie, are in a Pennsylvania orphanage in 1935. Mike may need to win a spot in a harmonica orchestra to keep Frankie safe. In 1942 California, Ivy, a young migrant farm worker, plays the harmonica while living on a farm owned by Japanese-Americans who are in an internment camp. All three characters find great strength in music. The audio edition takes full advantage of the medium, with music playing throughout the story—simple harmonica tunes and orchestral music play in the background and the readers even sing at times. Ages 10–14. A Scholastic Press hardcover. (Apr.)